The Sony boasts acceptable black levels and passable, if not entirely accurate color. But its shadow detail and off-axis viewing are where the Sony shows its stripes.
Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.
Of the three TVs I tested together -- the Samsung, Sony, and LG -- the Sony BX330 performed most like the Samsung EH4000, simply because the LG was the most "oddball." The Sony had OK black levels given the price, but the blacks weren't quite "true" and could look either blueish or greenish depending on the shade. Generally, its black levels were on a par with TVs like the LG G2, which cost a grand more. The Samsung was the standout here, as a result.
But the thing for me that differentiates a good TV from a great one is shadow detail: any TV manufacturer can artificially dim the backlight to make it darker, but shadow detail is harder to get right. The Sony may not have had the blackest blacks, but shadow detail was reasonable, and certainly head and shoulders above the LG 32CS460.
Color accuracy: Color was reasonable, but a lack of sophisticated color controls meant that primaries -- blue, red, and particularly green -- were off from the start and no amount of tweaking "Color" was going to fix that. While overall the color balance was quite pleasing with good saturation, it was skin tones that were most noticeably out. The Samsung EH4000 had much better color reproduction with rosier, more-natural faces.
Video processing: As a bare-bones set, the Sony lacks any of the videophile modes the more expensive TVs have. Of the three sets on test, the Sony was the worst but only by a small shade, with a little bit of moire in the stands section of our film resolution test. Even so, the Sony still passed. But the missing 24p mode was telling during the flyby of the USS Intrepid at the 24:58 mark of "I Am Legend." The TV lacked the silkiness of more expensive sets and showed a tendency for jerkiness. However, unless you watch a movie consisting of 100 percent pans, this is unlikely to affect your viewing that much. Some people are more irritated by judder than others, though.
Uniformity: During my test, none of the 32-inchers exhibited any problems with uniformity -- which can exhibit itself as backlight clouding (where large gray clouds appear in dark areas) or flashlighting (spots of light at the corners).
In terms of off-angle viewing, the Sony was the best of the three, with a little discoloration but nowhere near as pronounced as the other two and only minimal loss in contrast. If you're buying a set that could often be viewed from the side, this would be the one to get.
The Sony performed well in a lit room and under lights with decent contrast and only a small sacrifice to shadow detail. The TV lacks a glossy coating and so doesn't suffer from distracting reflections.
|GEEK BOX: Test||Result||Score|
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0326||Poor|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2713/0.2455||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3242/0.3259||Poor|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3191/0.3245||Poor|
|Before avg. color temp.||6186.2069||Poor|
|After avg. color temp.||6163.5835||Poor|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||4.9945||Poor|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||8.6216||Poor|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||4.1564||Poor|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2046/0.325||Poor|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3521/0.1678||Poor|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4158/0.4757||Poor|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Fail||Good|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||330||Poor|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||330||Poor|